We stayed at this hotel for 10 days in mid June. The hotel attracts a lot of Brits, french and germans. It is mainly fed by the Tui group, with thomson's supplying a lot of British guests. We booked the hotel direct on the riu website and booked our flights with easyjet from manchester. We booked a transfer through suntransfers.com for 52 euros return. Their service was excellent, they were waiting for us in the arrivals hall when we arrived and bang on time for our return to the airport. I would strongly recommend anybody considering going to his hotel as a package to do a bit of research as to how much it would be to book direct, we saved ourselves £600 on what we would have paid Thomsons.
Anyway, down to the hotel. As our flight arrived at 10pm, we didn't get their until 11pm. The restaurants had closed. Previous reviews mention them keeping the restaurants open but clearly they only do this when they have more people arriving at the same time, e.g. thomsons arrival night. however, after swiftly arriving at our room, two porters turned up, one with our luggage, and one with a massive tray of food including bread, various meats, salad, fruit etc. I thought that this was a very thoughtful touch.
The first few days that we were at the hotel, I would say that it was probably only half full. It was easy getting a sunbed and you didn't have to get up at stupid o clock to get one. on our first day around the pool, we were peacefully relaxing until about 11 o clock, when suddenly the entertainment team decided it was time to start trying to get people doing the activities. They were so persistant and would not take no for an answer. It was extremely annoying, trying to stay polite to them but at the same time trying to get the message across that you did not want to participate. Then, when aqua gym started, the music was turned up to full blast and you felt like you were sunbathing in a night club. Speaking with other people around the pool and this seemed a common complaint.
A couple of days into our holiday whilst having dinner in the restaurant, everybody was handed a review form to complete. I suspect that the majority of people may have made mention to the persistance of the entertainment staff and the level of the music because from the next day, the music was turned down and the staff, although still coming round asking you to do the activities, actually took no for an answer. For the rest of our holiday this never really bothered us anymore because the hotel seemed to have taken heed of the feedback they had received.
In terms of food, we could not fault this at all. We have been to numerous all inclusive resorts and I have to say that this was probably the best in terms of food. From 7 in the morning until 10:15pm you can get food of some sort. from 7am until 10:30am they serve breakfast which consists of your usual pastries, cereals, and cooked breakfasts. Then from 10:30am till 12:30pm they serve a continental breakfast for anybody who got up to late for normal breakfast. From 12:30pm until 3pm its lunch, consisting of bbq, panini's cooked to order, pasta's, pizza's, different meat dishes etc. Then during from 3pm onwards they switch to afternoon snacks in the poolside restaurant (which doubles as the italian), which consists of pancakes, sandwiches and chips etc. Then dinner from 7pm until 10:15pm which is served at 3 different restaurants; the main, italian and moroccan. During the first part of our holiday, you would be served a bottle of wine with your evening meal, however, partway through, the hotel seemed to have a change of heart and you can no longer get wine by the bottle. It's no big deal though because it's freely available by the glass.
Evening entertainment as previous reviewers have mentioned isn't the best, but the entertainment team do work their socks off.
There does seem to be a problem at the moment around the pool bar, which on a couple of days during our holiday was swarmed with wasps. I was aware of at least two people being stung during our stay. I'm not sure what the hotel can do about this. The staff our forever cleaning the bar area and still the wasps persist. The pool bar, when not swarmed with wasps got quite busy during the day, and could be quite a walk to go and get a drink depending on which side of the humungous pool you were sitting. However, they appeared to be building a new pool bar on the other side of the pool during our stay.
Previous reviewers are right that their is the beach short and football shirt brigade in the restaurants of a evening. It's a shame because the majority of people are dressed up nicely which gives the hotel more of a classy feel and then it's just the small handful of people who think they're in benidorm. Having said this, i witnessed no raucous behaviour and never during my whole holiday saw anybody drunk.
I had a heard a few people talk about paying extra for late checkout rooms during their stay (i think its 250 dirhams until 2pm or 400 dirhams until 6pm.) However, unless you desparetly need to keep your room, the hotel will offer the use of a courtesy room for free for a half hour period before you leave if you wish to get showered etc. This was ideal for us. Checkout was 11am, and then we were able to make full use of the the all inclusive facilities for the rest of the afternoon (I have been to some all inclusive resorts were they cut your writstband off at checkout and there ceases your entitlement to anything for free). An hour before we were due to leave, we were given a key to a room, and able to go and use the showers and get changed. You were provided with towels, shower gel shampoo etc so its ideal.
Overall, I thought the hotel was good value for money. If you are looking for complete tranquility whilst sunbathing, this is probably not for you as there is only one pool and there are numerous activities in and around it throughout the day. the all inclusive features are excellent
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